Saturday, August 17, 2013

97. Provincial Science Fair

I'll admit that I'm a little too tired to write much tonight.  In fact, I'll admit that I already fell asleep once, while loading the pictures below.  I was sitting up, with my hands still on the keyboard.

Dan and I put in a good 12-hour day today, working hard to organize and realize the Tete Provincial Science Fair.  As the coordinator (at both the provincial and national level), it was Dan's job to make sure that all of the students arrived safely, prepared their presentations, and understood the rules of the competition.  It was also his job to monitor the HIV testing, placate the visiting chefes, and keep to the schedule.  Basically, he was responsible for everything.  And because I am his wife, I played the role of second-Dan.

By the end of the day, we were exhausted, worn out, and thoroughly relieved.  The Provincial Fair ran smoothly and the students and teachers were happy.  We can now proudly say that the 2013 Provincial Science Fair was a GREAT BIG SUCCESS and we're glad, glad, glad that it's over.  

That's usually true of any big event, isn't it?  The relief at having finished, I mean.  

The first-place winners were Naymet Lembe from the Tete Secondary School and Samson Jossam from the Samora Machel Secondary School.  They each won a cell phone and a trip to Quelimane to present their projects at the Mozambican National Fair.  

The Zobue Secondary School didn't place amongst the final three contenders, but one of our own won the award for Best Community Project.  Inacio Mateus, a tenth-grade student who "invented" a pre-existing well crank, won a certificate and a cash prize of 100 Meticais (three dollars), which will be enough to bring pride to our director and, hopefully, inspire next year's future contestants.

In lieu of further verbal description, here are the pictures from the Tete Provincial Science Fair.  

The official Science Fair banner in the entrance-way to Clube Chingale
Opening the competition with a lesson about HIV and AIDS
19 student participants, 12 teacher/chaperones, 3 guest judges,
and members from the Ministries of Health and Education
The Fair offered free HIV testing to students and teachers alike.
Nine attendants opted for free testing (six students and three teachers).
None of the individuals tested positive for HIV (!)
Science Fair (Feira de Ciencias) Certificate of Participation
1st Place Prize (Junior and Senior Level):  Cell phone and charger
2nd Place Prize (Junior and Senior Level):  Soda-can speakers
3rd Place Prize ( Junior and Senior Level):  MP3 Player with earphones included
Presenting a project ("Plants that slow the effects of HIV") onstage at Club Chingale
A view of the stage from the audience
"Projects" varied from research to lessons to explications of inventions.
Here, Dacarai offers already-chewed gum to members of the audience,  as part of a lesson about promiscuity.
Here, Torondai demonstrates the use of sawdust as a potential source of cooking fuel
The sawdust burned so quickly and so hot that it had to be taken outside...
...But not before it had filled up the whole hall with smoke
A teacher takes advantage of the burning fuel to boil a few eggs in the  corner of the auditorium
At the end of the day:  Samson Jossam ("A Small Electric Fan Made out of
Fan Parts and Garbage") accepts his first-place prize and certificate.
Naybet Lembe ("Medical Plants that Help People Affected with HIV")
accepts her first-place prize and certificates

There really isn't that much "science" that goes on at these Provincial Science Fairs.  The concept of experiments and the scientific method are still kind of foreign in Mozambique, and that's okay.  The junior winner of the fair (in the 8th to 10th grade level) presented a home-made fan.  The senior winner (11 to 12th grade level) won with a discourse on medicinal plants. One of Zobue's local-level contestants actually presented a card trick as his scientific experiment.

But as long as kids are getting excited about what they are doing and choosing to spend their time in constructive and interesting ways, I consider the Science Fair to be a grande success with a healthy and promising future.

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